Australia shares edge up before earnings, CBA at all-time high

Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:41pm EST

(Adds details, comments, stocks on the move)
    SYDNEY, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Australian shares inched up 0.1
percent on Tuesday, led by the financials sector, after Wall
Street ended an uneventful session and investors waited on
corporate earnings results ahead of a busy reporting week.
    The Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Australia's top
lender, led the gains ahead of its first half results on
Wednesday, rising 0.4 percent to an all-time high of A$65.41.
National Bank of Australia bucked the trend, falling
0.6 percent.
    The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was 6.6 points
higher at 4,966.1 as of 0024 GMT. The benchmark fell 0.2 percent
on Monday in thin trade.
    U.S. stocks ended a quiet session with slight moves on
Monday as investors found few reasons to keep pushing shares
higher following a six-week advance, though the longer-term
trend was still viewed as positive. 
    "I think it's quite encouraging that we haven't quite played
follow the leader even though we did see a little bit of
weakness coming through from the U.S. and European markets,"
said Juliette Saly, stock market analyst at Commonwealth
Securities.
    "Investors are pretty much focused on local events and we
have seen good profit results so far this week, (and) there's a
lot of hope that what we see from the other big names later this
week will also be quite strong."
    Apart from Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Rio Tinto, 
Wesfarmers and Westfield are also due to report their results
this week.
    The retail sector was firm. Electronic goods retailer Harvey
Norman jumped 1.3 percent while David Jones 
and Myer were up 1.1 percent and 0.4 percent
respectively.
    Global iron ore miners were slightly down, with BHP Billiton
Ltd trading flat while rival Rio Tinto Ltd 
slipped 0.5 percent. 
    Gold miners were softer, after the bullion fell to a
one-month low on Monday, hit by techinical selling after prices
slid and as investment appetite for physical metal dropped.
 Newcrest Mining dropped 2.2 percent while
Regis Resources tumbled 3.2 percent.
    Defensives were mixed. Supermarket giants Woolworths Ltd
 was up 0.3 percent while Wesfarmers Ltd was
trading flat. Australia's no.1 telecommunications giant Telstra
 climbed 0.5 percent.
    New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index was trading
flat, up 1.8 points to 4,222.3.
    
    STOCKS ON THE MOVE
    * Whitehaven Coal surged 6.8 percent to A$3.16
after the Australian government gave conditional approval to its
key growth project, the Maules Creek mine, which the company
aims to open in 2014. 
    
    (0021 GMT)
    
    * Bradken soared 10.2 percent to a nine-month high
of A$6.72. The mining and power equipment maker said its order
books have stabilised and there is evidence to suggest it had
reached the bottom of the current cycle as it reported its
first-half results.
    
    (0022 GMT)
    
    * Yancoal Australia dropped 5.3 percent to A$0.80
after it said it was looking for a new chief executive, with CEO
Murray Bailey stepping down in July amid reported tensions with
the company's Chinese board.
    
    (0024 GMT)
    

 (Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
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